News / Africa

Nigeria's Former Military Ruler Running for President

Former Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida (file photo)
Former Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida (file photo)

A former military ruler in Nigeria is running for president in elections scheduled for next year.  The candidacy has revived allegations of corruption during his time in power.

Retired general Ibrahim Babangida says he is running for president because he left so many things behind when he left Abuja, including the value of Nigeria's currency, stable fuel prices, and government reform.

He told reporters this week that he wants to return to the capital to pick up those things for the benefit of ordinary Nigerians.

Babangida is among half a dozen candidates vying for the ruling-party's nomination, but no one has a resume quite like his.  A veteran of three successful military coups, Babangida ran Nigeria for eight years, dragging-out a transition to civilian rule by banning all political parties and forcing candidates to run in one of two parties he created.

Political analyst Ignatius Onwuemele recalls when a vote was finally held in 1993, Babangida annulled the results.  

"The election that was the freest and the fairest so far in Nigerian history was annulled without offering any reason," he said.  "And of course such a man who spearheaded such an annulment is not a democratic individual, as far as I am concerned."

Onwuemele wonders how a man who ruled by decree can work with a multi-party legislature. "As a military ruler, I know that it is not like democracy where issues are tested and tried.  He can wake up and take decisions and all that," he said.

Babangida says he takes full responsibility for annulling the June 12, 1993 vote and admits it was a mistake.

Former ruling-party member Edward Oforomeh says Babangida is not the only one to blame. "That June 12th issue is not a personal issue.  Although he was the leader of that regime, he could not have done it alone.  Babangida could not have done the annulment alone," he said.

As a Nigerian citizen, he says Babangida has every right to run for president. "He did the best he could when he was [in power] and now that he says he is coming back it is left for the populace to decide on whether to vote for him or not," he said.

During his time in power, Babangida created many new local government areas and several new states as part of what he said was a plan to decentralize power.

"Everybody sees today development there as a result of those local governments and states," he said.

Nigeria made huge oil profits with the spike in world prices during the first Gulf War and much of that money collected by the Babangida administration remains unaccounted for.  Babangida says he knows that will be an issue in this election, and he is assuring voters that all those funds were properly used to meet government demands at the time.

Warri-based attorney James Jakpor says corruption is a problem for all Nigerians. "The blame of the corruption, the blame of the Naira can not be placed only on Babangida.  He contributed his quota, no doubt.  But the problem is for the whole of Nigeria," he said.

Political analysts say the former general no longer enjoys such a huge financial advantage over potential rivals.  An officer class once dominated by his Middle Belt region is now more geographically and ethnically diverse.  

There is also the question of age. Babangida is 68.  In a vote to choose a successor to a president who could not complete his term because of a heart condition, many Nigerian voters are looking for a younger, more dynamic candidate.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid